Tuesday, October 22, 2013

DeCroce, O'Toole Applaud Governor's Energy Resiliance Initiative; Urge Legislation Leaders To Approve Power Protection Act

Source: Assembly Republican Press Release -

Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce and Senator Kevin O’Toole today applauded Governor Christie’s administration for allocating $25 million to pursue creative and cost-effective alternatives to enhance statewide energy resilience – including the purchase of generators. The funds are being allocated from the federal Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP).

“I applaud the Governor for taking a strong leadership position on the vitally important issue of backup power when some leaders in the legislature are not,” said DeCroce.
DeCroce (R-Essex, Morris, Passaic) is the sponsor of the N.J. Residents Power Protection Act (A-3495), which seeks to address the power outage problems following Superstorm Sandy that hit New Jersey late last October.

Senator O’Toole (R-Bergen, Essex, Morris,Passaic) is the sponsor of companion legislation in the senate. He noted that the Christie Administration energy resilience plan includes a $7 million grant program that will allow targeted retail fuel stations, on and near evacuation routes, faster and more reliable access to backup power during an energy emergency.

The state will make funding available to more than 250 fuel stations located along key thoroughfares identified by state homeland security and emergency management personnel. Eligible station owners will use the funds to purchase generators or permanent connection points for mobile generators, also known as “quick connects.”

“The Governor should be congratulated for recognizing thatNew Jerseystill has serious gaps in its energy security network and that he is allocating federal funds as an innovative solution while the legislature continues to deliberate on this important issue,” said O’Toole.

DeCroce’s legislation would require all gas stations, nursing homes, and other critical facilities to have generator backup power during declared emergencies. To help implement the generator program, DeCroce has included in her legislation a tax incentive to make the upgrades affordable to businesses.

While DeCroce’s legislation has been stalled by state legislative leaders, she says she is encouraged by Governor Christie’s leadership on backup power issue and hopes it will spur the legislature to act. The governor’s emergency energy program is targeted at critical facilities, including police and fire stations, shelters, emergency operations centers, and wastewater treatment plants in 146 municipalities, counties and other government units.

“While the governor’s program serves the needs of 146 municipalities, counties, and other government entities; we need a mandatory statewide backup program that serves the residents in all 565 municipalities,” said DeCroce.

“It’s nearly a year sinceSandyslammedNew Jersey, and the State Legislature has not done enough in my opinion to avoid a repeat of the horrific conditions residents had to endure in the aftermath of that storm,” said DeCroce.

DeCroce said the images of long lines of people trying to get gasoline for cars and generators at the few gas stations that were open; and the disruption to commerce and the threats to the lives of our elderly brought by the loss of power are still firmly etched in her mind.

“The conditions for many people, especially our most vulnerable citizens were barbaric and must never be repeated,” added the Assemblywoman. “I hope the Assembly Speaker and Senate President will take a cue from Governor Christie on the matter of energy security and will post the kind of legislation needed to protect all the residents of this state.”

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